Now a nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, from Lebanon, The Insult opens this Friday at the State Theatre. The Insult takes place in present day Beirut where a civilian dispute blown out of proportion finds Tony, Lebanese Christian, and Yasser, a Palestinian refugee, involved in a courtroom battle. As the media circus surrounding the case threatens a social explosion in divided Lebanon, Tony and Yasser reconsider their values and beliefs as revelations of trauma complicate their understanding of one another.
Peter Travers, Rolling Stone – Director Ziad Doueiri’s Best Foreign-Language Film Oscar nominee from Lebanon is a crackling legal thriller that boils down centuries of Middle Eastern conflict into one reckless insult – and lets the sparks fly.
A.O. Scott, New York Times – There is something undeniably exhilarating about the film’s honest assessment of the never-ending conflict between decency and cruelty that rages in every nation, neighborhood and heart.
SPECIAL SCREENINGS DOWNTOWN
At the Michigan Theater, we invite you to “Be Our Guest” and come out for our new Christopher Guest film series premiering tonight at 9:30 PM with This is Spinal Tap, the mock-rockumentary from Director Rob Reiner that follows a metal band struggling to get back on the charts. Next week Thursday, Waiting For Guffman will continue the series at the same time.
Tomorrow at the Michigan, in celebration of its 25th Anniversary we will be screening Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray as a weatherman out to cover the annual emergence of the groundhog from its hole. But when he gets caught in a blizzard that he didn’t predict, he finds himself trapped in a time warp doomed to relive the same day over and over again until he gets it right.
Next Monday, The Men Who Tread on the Tiger’s Tail will premiere the “Enter the Samurai” Film Series at 7:00 PM, celebrating Akira Kuroawa’s greatest genre epics and more! In this film, written and directed by the acclaimed auteur, a routed Japanese general and his group of loyal retainers are forced to flee from his own traitorous brother. But en route to a safe zone, they must pass through a heavily garrisoned mountain stronghold held by his brother’s force.
At the State Theatre, “Jim Henson Presents the Muppets” continues with The Great Muppet Caper this Saturday at 1:30 PM, and because it’s also part of the Toyota Family-Friendly Film Series presented by the Benard L. Maas Foundation, kids 12 & under get in free! In their second live-action film, Kermit, Fozzie Bear, and Gonzo snag an assignment reporting on a British jewel heist and set out to find the real criminals after Miss Piggy is framed as the thief.
Also at the State “A Decade Of O-Scope: Celebrating 10 Years of Oscilloscope Films” will begin presenting some the most memorable films from the distribution/production company that have brought us titles like Kedi, playing next Monday at 7:00 PM, the documentary focused on the hundreds of thousands of Turkish cats roaming the metropolis of Istanbul freely. Also included this week: Buzzard and The Alchemist Cookbook, will play the following Tuesday and Wednesday at the same time, from filmmaker and Michigan native Joel Potrykus. Both films are also previous selections of the Cinetopia Film Festival.
Faces Places, now nominated for the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature, continues at the Michigan! 89-year old Agnes Varda, one of the leading figures of the French New Wave, and acclaimed 33 year-old French photographer and muralist JR teamed up to co-direct this enchanting documentary/road movie. Kindred spirits, Varda and JR share a lifelong passion for images and how they are created, displayed and shared.
From Director Steven Spielberg, The Post stars Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks in the true story of the country’s first female newspaper publisher and a hard-driving editor who join an unprecedented battle between journalism and the government, which led to the publication of the Pentagon Papers in 1971.
From Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread, reunites the acclaimed director with Daniel Day-Lewis in his last on screen role. In the film, Day-Lewis plays Reynolds Woodcock, a renowned dressmaker whose fastidious life is disrupted by a young, strong-willed woman, Alma, who becomes his muse and lover.
At the State Theatre, Call Me By Your Name continues. Set in Northern Italy in 1983, seventeen year-old Elio (played by Timothee Chalamet) begins a relationship with visiting Oliver (played by Armie Hammer), his father’s research assistant, with whom he bonds over his emerging sexuality, their Jewish heritage, and the beguiling Italian landscape. The film was written by James Ivory, known for his previous romantic period classics A Room with a View and Howard’s End.
Also playing at the State: Lady Bird, from Director Greta Gerwig who is now the fifth female to be nominated for a Best Director Oscar, stars Saoirse Ronan as an artistically-inclined seventeen year-old coming of age in Sacramento, California in the early 2000s. The film also stars Laurie Metcalf as her headstrong mother who maintains a turbulent bond with her daughter, as well as Lucas Hedges and Tracy Letts.
I, Tonya has been called “The Goodfellas of Figure Skating” by Playlist.com and stars Margot Robbie as Tonya Harding who rose amongst the ranks at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in the late 80s and 90s, only to find her future in thrown into doubt after her ex-husband (played by Sebastian Stan) intervenes with a rival, leading to one of the most unbelievable Olympic moments in history.
Three Billboards Outside, Ebbing Missouri, from Director Martin McDonagh, known for his previous black comedies In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths, stars 5 time Academy Award nominee Frances McDormand as a mother who commissions three signs leading into her town with a message directed at the town’s revered chief of police after months have passed without a culprit in her daughter’s murder case. The film also stars Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell.
And The Shape of Water continues with select showtimes, starring Sally Hawkins as a mute custodian working in an isolated government laboratory where she develops a friendly relationship with a scaled creature living in a water tank. The film also stars Octavia Spencer and Michael Shannon.
OPENING AT THE MULTIPLEX
Starring Helen Mirren and Jason Clarke, Winchester opens this Friday. The story of firearms heiress Sarah Winchester who, after the sudden death of her family, becomes convinced that she’s haunted by the souls of those killed by guns. She then decides to build an enormous mansion that’s designed to keep the evil spirits at bay. But, when skeptical psychiatrist Eric Price visits the estate to evaluate her state of mind, he soon discovers that her obsession may not be so far-fetched after all.
That’s all for this week! See you at the movies.
From Russ Collins
Exec.Dir., State & Michigan Theater – Ann Arbor
Founder/Director, Art House Convergence – Utah
Artistic Director, Cinetopia Festival – Detroit/A2